40: The Rules for Rulers


00:00:00   Your poor, poor, poor office mate.

00:00:04   I don't know what you're talking about, Myke.

00:00:06   You must crush the wheels of industry under the might of your keys.

00:00:12   Take them down! These are the rules that you have to win.

00:00:15   [DING]

00:00:16   I only realized after the video went up, and a lot of people were leaving a bunch of comments

00:00:23   about my office mate who must have been overhearing me do this script over and over again.

00:00:27   I only realized once reading those the true strangeness of his perspective because

00:00:34   he rented the office next to mine at some point in the summer when I was away and

00:00:42   though I never see him because I don't have to walk past his office, he does see my office.

00:00:47   And so he would have walked past this empty room with two desks stacked on top of each other

00:00:54   and no chair and nothing inside of it and thought "huh, I wonder what's going on in the office next door?"

00:01:00   I wonder why this storage closet is unattended.

00:01:03   Right, exactly.

00:01:05   Because why would there be two tables on top of each other? They were just storing them.

00:01:09   Perfectly reasonable assumption.

00:01:11   And then at some point from his perspective, the neighbor just shows up

00:01:17   and is walking through this half-written script on the rules of power constantly at odd hours.

00:01:24   He never would have heard me talking about anything other than this single topic.

00:01:29   And he would have heard me talking just this morning, doing it again with the follow-up videos.

00:01:35   But so this is, you know, whatever it is, from the start of September until now,

00:01:40   this is all he has heard from me next door.

00:01:43   After being in the office on his own for a while,

00:01:46   probably wondering what the deal is with the strange room next door and then finding out.

00:01:51   I don't know if he's found out.

00:01:52   Yeah, I don't mean found out as in he understands what's occurring.

00:01:55   I mean found out as in like, "Oh, this is what's next door. A crazy person."

00:01:59   I don't even know if you think that was crazy. Like I would think it would be scary.

00:02:03   So we're talking about your "The Rules for Rulers" video.

00:02:06   Yes.

00:02:06   The worst part of this is that this isn't even a

00:02:12   "Hello, I'm CGP Grey talking to you the internet" video.

00:02:16   This is a "I am a dictator and I am telling you, learned dictator, who's trying to rise up the ranks, how to control the world."

00:02:26   That's the real problem with this, is it's not just explaining these things, it's talking about them as if you're already doing them.

00:02:33   Yeah, it was a little bit of the screw tape letters, like of the senior demons talking to the lower level demon.

00:02:41   Like this is, this is kind of what it was.

00:02:43   And so yes, this is why on the last episode we had a little bit of a discussion about,

00:02:49   like in your videos, thinking about the things you're adding on the screen as the editor, as like a separate person.

00:02:55   I was very aware in writing and rewriting this video, spending a lot of time trying to find like,

00:03:02   what is the voice? Like how am I actually going to talk through all of these things?

00:03:08   And I did eventually decide on exactly what that was, which is the--

00:03:12   this feeling like, this is someone who is instructing an apprentice.

00:03:18   Like, that's the mood that I'm going for here.

00:03:22   That's what I'm going to try to achieve when I record the audio.

00:03:26   And people might not realize, like, when I'm actually working through the script,

00:03:30   I am saying it just like that, because I'm trying to hear how are each of these lines

00:03:35   going to sound when they're spoken. So...

00:03:37   The voice in that video is the voice next door to this guy for months

00:03:42   So dear listener if you've if you've not yet watched this video

00:03:45   Go and watch this video now because we're gonna talk about it and won't make any sense to you otherwise

00:03:50   now I want to know where the idea for this one came from because it's it's

00:03:56   Kind of like some of the other stuff that you've done like in that

00:04:01   You know, you've you've done videos about mayors and popes and kings and things like that

00:04:05   So there's like there's some links there and I guess there is some geographical ties to it because you're talking about controlling countries

00:04:13   But it feels a little bit different and also the presentation was a little bit different

00:04:18   So like where did your original idea for this one come from?

00:04:20   So there's a thing when I look at

00:04:24   The videos that I make this can be maybe a recurring theme in this conversation

00:04:30   But I often just see what they are not.

00:04:34   Like I'm very aware of all the things that they leave out and that they don't talk about or what I intended to do

00:04:39   but haven't actually done. And so for the last US election,

00:04:45   I was working on a video that was a big combination of all of the things that are wrong

00:04:52   with the United States government. Like the mechanisms of the way that it works.

00:04:57   I think the US just happens to have a like a bunch of pieces

00:05:01   that individually wouldn't be so bad that but like but all together add up to be a problem and

00:05:08   I was working on this script for a while

00:05:11   And I ended up not making it for the last election, but it was a thing that I kind of tinkered on

00:05:15   for a while and

00:05:18   like a big a big video about

00:05:23   something about like the big scale picture of the structure of politics was always on my mind.

00:05:29   And I ended up reading a bunch of books that were around this topic like covering it from from different angles and

00:05:35   at some point

00:05:38   maybe two years ago, I'd have to look at my book list for precisely when it was but I think about two years ago

00:05:44   I came across The Dictator's Handbook and I felt like ah this book is

00:05:50   doing a great job of

00:05:53   synthesizing a bunch of the things that have been rolling around in my head and

00:05:57   and making a coherent picture out of a bunch of little pieces of things that I wanted to talk about and

00:06:03   trying to show like a way to think about this stuff as

00:06:07   a theory to explain the actions of

00:06:11   rulers.

00:06:13   Essentially my original script that was entirely about the United States that I was tinkering with,

00:06:18   the part about the US like kept getting smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller which with each draft and each time

00:06:25   more and more and more about the structure of politics

00:06:29   took over until eventually at some point I realized you know what I think this is actually better to just

00:06:36   do as like an elucidation of

00:06:39   the ideas in the book and so if you watch the video there is

00:06:45   one section, maybe it's like 15 minutes in, but I just I just quickly say about how, oh in in a

00:06:52   in a democracy

00:06:54   there's a couple of tools you can use to help reduce the number of voters you need to get into office.

00:06:58   Like you can change the voting system, you can gerrymander the boundaries, you can have party pre-elections

00:07:04   with complicated rules that limit who people can people can vote for and

00:07:08   once the re-election rates are super high and the approval rates are really low

00:07:12   you know that you've won. That paragraph is the only thing that's left from what was thousands and thousands of words of a

00:07:20   different script that was focused on the United States. So like it's a funny experience for me to watch it and see that like

00:07:27   one thing over the space of

00:07:31   years thinking about a topic like gets smushed down and compressed and something else

00:07:37   grows around it. So that's the way the script looks from my perspective.

00:07:42   One of my favorite things was watching the video and I'm maybe about 12 or 13

00:07:47   minutes in something like that and it dawns on me that all of these things

00:07:51   could apply to companies and CEOs and then you reference it that you call it

00:07:56   out at the end which is which is awesome but there was this moment where I was

00:08:00   like oh no CEOs are really just dictators. Yeah well to also go with the

00:08:11   theme of things left out. This video ended up being just a really brutal thing to make.

00:08:21   This turned out to be the hardest thing that I have yet written to date. Previously, humans need not apply held that mantle,

00:08:31   But this one has definitely taken that and taken that by quite a wide margin.

00:08:37   Because the first drafts of this video were 15,000 words long.

00:08:45   And for comparison, the final version is about 3,000 words long.

00:08:49   And it's because this idea touches on so many aspects, like "Like with Companies"

00:08:59   that I wanted to talk about all of these different pieces, right? Like how does this relate to this? How does this relate to that?

00:09:07   And it was very hard to make that workable.

00:09:12   But the section on companies is like a very obvious thing to think about.

00:09:18   And it may come up in a follow-up video, but the reason I didn't talk about companies is because there's an unavoidable

00:09:27   additional piece of information that I'd have to talk about if I want to talk about companies.

00:09:33   That I like I had to leave out of this first video because it was just too much.

00:09:37   Like every time I ran the idea past other people when I was talking about this project

00:09:42   I could see like, oh, this is the moment when I lose you. So I had to leave it out of this, but

00:09:47   it's this idea of

00:09:49   the relationship between

00:09:52   the ruler and the keys to power and how like how

00:09:57   replaceable are the keys to power and you can end up in situations where

00:10:02   you have a ruler who has a small number of keys, but they're very highly replaceable, right?

00:10:09   Or a ruler who has a large number of keys, but it's very difficult to replace them and

00:10:13   this is essentially best understood when you're thinking about like companies and boards of directors that

00:10:23   essentially the more power a CEO has over the board, the more the CEO is able to replace the members of the board,

00:10:30   the more leeway that CEO has. Like they have more power to just do what they want.

00:10:37   But if the CEO is not able to replace their board members,

00:10:43   then the CEO is like much more beholden to what the board wants versus what the CEO wants to do.

00:10:50   Feels something like the founders advantage. There's an excellent story. I don't I've actually never verified if this is true

00:10:56   It just it sounds so true. I have a hard time not believing it because it's related to Steve Jobs here

00:11:01   It's like I was wondering how far we go into this conversation before he popped up, right?

00:11:05   Yeah, but I have heard I'll be curious to know in the comments if this is true or not

00:11:09   But I have heard that that on

00:11:12   The return to Apple after Steve Jobs had been banished the first time when the board had gotten rid of him

00:11:17   that one of his key negotiating

00:11:20   requirements was that he was able to pack the board with his own cronies

00:11:26   and he was able to get rid of a bunch of people who were on the board of directors.

00:11:29   And I think that that's a perfect example of

00:11:32   people think of the company as like the expression of the individual, right?

00:11:37   But it can only be an expression of the individual if they're very secure in their position of power.

00:11:44   Steve Jobs was no fool coming back to Apple.

00:11:47   Fool me once.

00:11:48   Yeah, exactly. He set it up so that he was in a position where he was able to do whatever he wanted with the company.

00:11:56   It's like that's why he was able to make decisions that were

00:12:00   *giggles*

00:12:00   egregiously unpopular sometimes, but it's because

00:12:04   he had control over the board, right?

00:12:09   Whereas there are plenty of examples where the CEO has essentially no control over the board and then the CEO is just a puppet, right?

00:12:16   They're not actually like an actor who is

00:12:19   influencing the direction of the company. Like they can't influence the board so the board influences

00:12:25   them. But this idea of

00:12:28   how replaceable are the key supporters? It was like one idea too many and it ends up like bringing in talking about companies.

00:12:36   So I did leave it off but I had to as you mentioned like I had to reference it at the end

00:12:41   Because I did just want to call it out like this is not just politics

00:12:45   I would have been almost disappointed if you didn't you know, yeah, because it was it was so clear to me

00:12:51   When watching it, so why was it clear to you? Like were you thinking of anything in particular?

00:12:55   Just having worked in a multinational corporation

00:12:59   like you can see the idea of the keys and like the protection of the keys and

00:13:05   And even from a financial perspective, the keys are rewarded.

00:13:11   And it's like, okay, I can see all of this.

00:13:14   I can see how this layering effect is so--even down to things like talking about the control

00:13:23   of the way that money moves people, and even down to the peasant idea.

00:13:29   Who are the peasants in this metaphor, Myke?

00:13:31   I wouldn't even know.

00:13:33   It's like this kind of staging of people and power and financial reward that like goes from the bottom to the top

00:13:41   Like that is a multinational corporation. It's one of those things where I

00:13:46   Don't know sometimes I feel like I'm talking about ideas that are almost

00:13:53   so obvious it's like why even discuss them and

00:13:57   I think I mentioned last time but this is this often happens to me when I'm writing a script

00:14:02   There's some point where I look at it and I think, "Why am I even talking about this?"

00:14:05   Like, isn't it obvious to say that people in power have people who help them stay in power?

00:14:12   But I do think that, like, there is real value in laying it out in a, like, a small, concise, simple manner.

00:14:23   Because, like, I have to cast my mind back to remember, like, I feel like this pulled together some ideas that were rolling around in my head,

00:14:31   But it's different to see it laid out and it's like, "Ah, okay, this makes sense."

00:14:35   Right, this makes sense how you can see in a company or in a business how

00:14:41   when someone gets promoted, they often try to bring their immediate subordinates with them, right, wherever they're going.

00:14:48   You go like, "Why? Why would they do that?" It's like, this is why, right?

00:14:52   They're trying to bring their power base up together.

00:14:56   Like it's a kind of reward for the people who have helped them.

00:14:58   I think it's a really harsh but necessary lesson for people to understand who are working within businesses.

00:15:06   Like, often what the people above you want is not what is ostensibly good for the whole company.

00:15:15   Like, they want you to do things that make them look good to the people that they are keys to.

00:15:26   Right? Like it's this hierarchy that's going up and I think it's...

00:15:29   If you can think about that, like it's in some ways it's not a pleasant thought,

00:15:36   but I find it like an incredibly liberating and clarifying thought.

00:15:42   Like okay, I understand what this structure is.

00:15:46   I think my earliest example of this years and years ago,

00:15:50   like the first time I had to face one of these ideas of

00:15:53   What does the machine tell you it is versus what is the machine actually?

00:15:58   So I went to college primarily to do physics at university and

00:16:02   the way courses in time happened to work out I ended up with a bunch of time in my final year as a

00:16:09   senior in university and

00:16:12   I

00:16:14   was trying to think about what to do and this was around the time I was also getting interested in economics

00:16:19   And I had a friend of mine who was getting interested in economics and the two of us sat down and we looked at the

00:16:23   course load one day and we realized, oh, hey,

00:16:25   we can actually fit a whole economics minor in the last two semesters of our senior year, right, as

00:16:33   we're sitting there in junior year trying to plan out the next year.

00:16:36   Like, oh, this is really interesting. Like, we can, let's do this, right? We have the time. There's nothing else

00:16:41   we're gonna do, you know, might as well. Like, what does it hurt to add an additional minor to our graduation?

00:16:48   So we intended to do this. We signed up for all of the classes

00:16:51   Right, and we're going to these classes and it was like an interesting fun time and me and my friend

00:16:57   We were doing really well in the classes because we had a ridiculous unfair advantage, which is that

00:17:05   many of the classes we were taking were essentially freshman level classes, right, and we're two seniors in these classes and

00:17:12   also the way

00:17:15   economics is structured, a lot of the really hard stuff like the math are

00:17:20   specific

00:17:23   instances of

00:17:25   general cases in physics. So basically like if you have done a physics degree, a

00:17:29   lot of the hard math in economics is a lot easier to do.

00:17:35   Just because you've seen it or you've seen something very similar to it before.

00:17:39   So my friend and I were doing really well in these classes

00:17:43   And then essentially what happens is that the head of the economics department

00:17:49   gets the Dean of the University to boot my friend and I out of the classes

00:17:57   after the cutoff of when you could theoretically drop classes are. Like we're just ejected from these classes.

00:18:03   And it was like so

00:18:06   infuriating. Like we couldn't get any reason, like why did this happen? I don't understand why this happened.

00:18:12   We're really screwed now because now we're part-time students all of a sudden, right, when we'd planned to be full-time students

00:18:19   which has all of these effects on your funding and where you can live on campus. Like it was a huge problem and

00:18:24   you know, I was rather upset at the time and I eventually found out through one of the physics professors that the reason this occurred is

00:18:32   because the university had a structure that determined how grading curves could be used and

00:18:39   that my friend and I were ruining the curve for the economics classes and that

00:18:45   we were making that class look like they were much worse and getting much worse grades and

00:18:52   so the head of the economics department got rid of us because it was bringing down her

00:18:57   average grade reports up to the university Dean and

00:19:01   she had some favors that she could pull from him to get a thing that's not supposed to happen to happen.

00:19:06   The top level was too high. You were you were weighting it poorly.

00:19:09   The difference between the grades that my friend and I were getting were too far from the rest of the class.

00:19:15   So we were artificially

00:19:17   pushing down the grades of the other students, which then reflected badly on the economics chair, right?

00:19:24   And so like and so this was like a really eye-opening moment of,

00:19:29   "Oh, okay.

00:19:32   This university is busy telling me about how it is a place of learning.

00:19:37   Yes, this is where it is maybe harshest.

00:19:39   And I- there's a huge amount of that that is true,

00:19:43   but if you do learning in the wrong way,

00:19:49   you suddenly discover that there's a bunch of kingdoms, right?

00:19:53   That there are kingdoms that are defending resources

00:19:58   that are negotiating for various things with each other.

00:20:01   And that if you end up on the wrong side of these things,

00:20:06   you are but a pawn in this larger system.

00:20:11   And that was a very, very eye-opening

00:20:15   early example of this to me.

00:20:17   - So what this makes me think of,

00:20:19   and it's like a harsh reality that I've faced,

00:20:23   it's very similar in this,

00:20:24   and it's why it's so shocking to learn about

00:20:26   or think about any of these things in this way,

00:20:28   in this way from democracy all the way down to education, is that people care about themselves

00:20:37   more than the thing they are supposed to be doing. So in this instance, the professor

00:20:45   cared more about her job and her grades and how that looked on her than your learning.

00:20:54   For me it was like people cared more about their own job performance than about the customers

00:21:03   of the bank.

00:21:05   Or doing what's right for the person.

00:21:08   They cared more about their own job performance.

00:21:10   Not even necessarily the bottom line of the company.

00:21:13   Just their own personal job performance.

00:21:15   And how frustrating I used to find that because I liked to believe in the greater good of

00:21:20   it all.

00:21:21   Old innocent Myke over here.

00:21:23   Like, I thought we were supposed to be doing the right thing.

00:21:26   Mm-hmm.

00:21:27   And that's where, like, these things become harsh.

00:21:29   And as I-- Like, it is harshest in your example

00:21:33   because it is I am a student trying to learn

00:21:37   and I have been denied the education

00:21:40   because it makes somebody else look bad.

00:21:43   Yeah.

00:21:44   It's funny, like, I am the most, you know, let it go kind of person

00:21:50   that is possibly alive.

00:21:52   But every once in a while that still I remember that and I feel like I should have gotten that economics minor

00:21:58   But because of just some like political thing. Yeah. Yeah, right as it didn't have like what does it matter?

00:22:03   I think it matters not at all. It doesn't matter for anything

00:22:06   I ended up going to graduate school for economics anyway, like it didn't it affected nothing in my life

00:22:12   But like it's it just I think sometimes I remember it because it is that

00:22:17   facing the like the reality of the thing versus the idea of the thing.

00:22:21   Yep.

00:22:21   And and yeah, that's that's that's what it was.

00:22:23   And I think that's why people have been enjoying this video because it's like

00:22:27   the macabre of finding this out is exciting and interesting.

00:22:32   Right? Like I think that's why the video seems to be doing really well from a numbers perspective.

00:22:38   I want to come to those numbers in a minute.

00:22:40   But like, you know, I've seen a lot of people talking really positively about the video

00:22:44   from an enjoyment perspective because it's like breaking social norms in a way, like the things

00:22:51   that we expect of these people. I think a thing that I have a hard time conveying is this idea of

00:23:00   I'm not being cynical here but I think cynical is a word that's sometimes used to dismiss a

00:23:08   thing but I feel like I am trying to talk about the reality of something which might

00:23:15   be uncomfortable to acknowledge.

00:23:17   It's not cynicism, it's realism. This is what is happening and I still like to believe that

00:23:23   there are dual parts of this. Like the people will try and get themselves into office because

00:23:28   they want to be powerful, right? Like I think you have to have that thing in your brain

00:23:32   that not everybody has, like the desire to want power in the first place. But there are

00:23:36   still people within that system that want to do an element of good.

00:23:39   Yeah. It's not saying that like it's all bad, but there are bad parts of it that you have

00:23:45   to know to be able to understand the good. Yeah, it's like if you... It is not a refutation

00:23:52   that there are no good politicians and nobody's intentions are good. But it is just simply

00:23:59   Trying to acknowledge the structure in which people work.

00:24:03   Yeah.

00:24:04   Right, and like and that's a that's a it's a different thing from just being

00:24:08   cynical about the idea that like, "Oh all politics is terrible." It's like I'm not I'm not saying that.

00:24:14   But I what I'm trying to say is if you're working in a business, if you want to go into politics,

00:24:21   if you want to be effective for the right reasons,

00:24:26   You need to understand how this works. Yeah, there are things you're gonna need to give up

00:24:32   Yeah, there are things you're gonna need to give up

00:24:34   There's there's things that you're going need to do and it's one of the reasons why like, you know

00:24:39   I sometimes joke online about like Oh being president or being king

00:24:43   But it's like I am perfectly well aware

00:24:45   That I have no interest in actually doing that because I would be no good at the things that are required

00:24:52   to be in those positions of power. It's not like it's hard to sit down and come up with ideas about how things could run

00:24:58   better. Almost anybody can do that. Like it's pretty easy to look at any structure of power and come up with a way that

00:25:05   they could do a thing better.

00:25:06   Yep.

00:25:06   But that's a totally different question of

00:25:09   what would you need to do to get into a position where you could really actually

00:25:17   change the thing that you're complaining about? Like that's a totally different question.

00:25:22   You know, and I think most people aren't willing to do that and

00:25:28   and that and like and that's the way that's the way things are.

00:25:32   But it's I don't view it as a kind of cynicism and I think it's a useful

00:25:36   thing to think about like

00:25:39   I mean this is before I came across the Dictator's Handbook, but even when I was when I was working as a

00:25:44   teacher I

00:25:46   I was much more aware of the power structure of the school and how it related to me as a

00:25:52   teacher working in the school. And it's like, there is no doubt that thinking about this stuff from one level removed

00:26:00   made my life way easier because I was aware of doing things like

00:26:05   signaling to certain people, "I am not interested in promotion." Like, "I am a cog in this machine," right?

00:26:13   This is my role. I'm happy to be here. Like I am at the bottom level of this. I am no competition for you

00:26:20   We're not we're not going for the same job. Like I'm just gonna be a physics teacher

00:26:24   That's all I want to do and then understanding that the best way for me to be left alone is

00:26:31   simply never cause problems from my managers. It's like

00:26:37   constantly thinking about

00:26:40   What did the managers need to see?

00:26:43   How can I do that?

00:26:45   And other stuff is not necessarily as important.

00:26:48   That's how I'm going to fly under the radar.

00:26:50   It's like I can let some stuff go in this job if I recognize like ultimately what does my manager not care about.

00:26:57   That's the thing I'm jealous of because I knew I needed to be that way to be left alone.

00:27:01   I just couldn't keep my mouth shut.

00:27:03   But it's so, it's so hard, right?

00:27:07   It's so hard and it's so frustrating and you can be sitting in a meeting

00:27:12   meeting and I would definitely have this of sitting in a meeting and just

00:27:15   reminding myself like just keep your mouth shut just don't say anything

00:27:21   because they're like there's no you have no political capital capital here to

00:27:26   actually do anything you've set that up on purpose so that you're not gonna be

00:27:30   conflicting with anybody all you want is for this meeting to be over and to be

00:27:35   and to be back doing your side projects as soon as possible like that's the

00:27:39   actual goal right don't don't interject I was such a nightmare I had two modes in

00:27:48   meetings mm-hmm I cracked endless jokes mm-hmm in a way that I don't in any other

00:27:56   such situation in life I don't make as many jokes as when I would sit in these

00:28:01   meetings I would just make fun of everything mm-hmm and or I would start

00:28:05   shouting. That was in my two modes. Make jokes, start shouting.

00:28:11   It's not good Myke. I couldn't help myself. I just know I am very opinionated and I as

00:28:17   much as I hated my job I cared about the core of it. Like I had a belief in a thing that

00:28:22   I was doing because I can't do something unless I believe in it. I would have just not been

00:28:28   able to do it at all which is like that was how I got in my job prior to the marketing

00:28:32   job. I cared about it so little that I used to go into the office and do nothing. I would

00:28:38   go in for 8 hours and I didn't do a thing. Right? So do not advise that course of action.

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00:31:04   my suitcase.

00:31:06   I want to come back to something that it's kind of like a little elephant in the room

00:31:09   that we've not discussed yet which is the fact that this video is 20 minutes long. This

00:31:13   This is abnormal. There's been one other video on your channel that's reached kind of over

00:31:19   this probably around 10 minute mark. Your videos tend to be under 10 minutes. That was

00:31:24   one that you've already mentioned a moment ago, which is "Humans need not apply", which

00:31:28   is a 15 minute video, which was also a pain in the ass. And now you've done this one,

00:31:33   which is 20 minutes, plus later follow ups, which you've mentioned, and you call out maybe

00:31:40   two or three of those in the video so I want to know like at what point in this

00:31:46   process did this become a single 20 minute video and not like two 10 minute

00:31:52   videos and was this decision related in any way to YouTube seeming preference now

00:32:01   for watch time overviews?

00:32:05   yeah that's a good question so for people that don't know typically in the

00:32:14   history of YouTube views of binking the way to get promoted most in the

00:32:19   algorithm the way to get on the front page the way to get the most money from

00:32:23   your ads was to get the most views YouTube has pretty much silently changed

00:32:29   this it's one of these things that as I've looked more and more into this

00:32:33   There are many things on YouTube that just get passed from person to person

00:32:36   Because somebody told someone and then it kind of moves out.

00:32:40   Yeah, this is definitely a thing that happens which is everybody trying to speculate and

00:32:45   A game of telephone occurs about what the algorithm may or may not be doing

00:32:50   It's very hard to try to separate that from what is the algorithm actually doing.

00:32:55   But the current agreed-upon consensus is that watch time,

00:32:59   Which is the amount of time somebody spends watching a video is worth more to you than views

00:33:05   So what a lot of people are doing now is making longer videos so you get more minutes that can be viewed

00:33:12   So it pushes your watch time up pushes you through the algorithm

00:33:16   Enhances your ad rates and it is believed that YouTube is trying to do this to curb

00:33:22   Like view clickbait because people will give clickbait your titles you get the view you get the number

00:33:28   But then people stop watching within 20 seconds because it's actually not what they were with you and in for so

00:33:32   Watch time and you know, we talk about those retention figures last time they kind of go hand in hand

00:33:38   That is more indicative of a video being worthwhile if somebody is watched through the most of it

00:33:45   So the watch time seems to be the thing that people are focusing on

00:33:48   So a 20 minute video has a higher chance of getting more allotted minutes than a four minute video

00:33:57   Yeah, there's a few things that are mixed together with the conversation that occurs around watch time.

00:34:03   And I actually recently just put a ton of data from all of my videos into a bunch of spreadsheets to try to take a

00:34:10   look at the data on my own channel and how it relates to watch time because precisely because of what you

00:34:15   said before of trying to figure out like how much of this is just rumor,

00:34:19   how much of this is real, is there anything that I can pull out of my own data set to try to get an answer

00:34:26   to this. And there's two questions. One of which is how much does YouTube promote a video

00:34:36   if it has a large amount of watch time? And ultimately I think that's unknowable. The

00:34:43   effect that that has, I just don't know. I can say with an extremely high degree of confidence

00:34:54   that YouTube is using watch time as a proxy for video quality.

00:35:00   That that's- this is the best metric they've come up with to try to figure out is- is this a video that people want to see?

00:35:10   I think that's sensible on paper.

00:35:13   Let's just say I had some interesting conversations with some people about this and...

00:35:18   I can't come up with a better way. You need to have some kind of number to feed the machine about how good our videos are or how not good our videos.

00:35:31   Watch time seems pretty good, you know, and I've lived through the various phases where you can see that the YouTube algorithm is poorly attuned to what is good.

00:35:42   and it sometimes has hilarious results.

00:35:45   Boob apocalypse was a few years ago

00:35:48   where just thumbnails with boobs in them

00:35:52   were everywhere all over YouTube for like a month

00:35:55   because of some tweaks to the algorithm

00:35:57   and they had, they're like, oh God,

00:35:58   we've done it all wrong, right?

00:36:00   Like we've done a terrible thing.

00:36:01   But you couldn't watch any video without seeing

00:36:04   that the related videos were people

00:36:07   who were just like reacting to the main video

00:36:09   but would just put boobs in the thumbnail.

00:36:10   Like, I used to get this on every single video I made for a couple months before they tweaked the algorithm around.

00:36:15   Like, it's a really hard problem to solve when you also consider that there are people who are trying to game the system constantly.

00:36:22   And so watch time seems reasonable.

00:36:25   Now, the thing that I don't know is how much does that actually affect the video going out to subscribers,

00:36:35   how much does it affect if it gets onto the trending part of YouTube or not,

00:36:39   I have no idea and I don't really have any ability to know. Like looking through my own data set and trying to do some correlations

00:36:49   you know against different values for like how to how much does this seem to affect as

00:36:53   correlated verse watch time on my videos. I can't really draw any super strong conclusions that there's like an there's an unambiguous

00:37:01   relationship between

00:37:03   watch time on a video and

00:37:06   How many people view it right like how many views or how many subscribers does it go out to I can't see an unambiguously

00:37:12   clear relationship between those two things

00:37:15   There's a second question which is do longer videos make you more money

00:37:21   And I think there's a confusion that has occurred here among YouTube viewers

00:37:25   Which I actually think PewDiePie is in no small part responsible for this because he's always making jokes about that

00:37:30   You know you got to get the video to 10 minutes

00:37:32   And I think he's put an idea in people's head that the 10 minute number is somehow related to YouTube Red

00:37:38   Which distributes money based on watch time and that's that's actually not the case

00:37:43   YouTube Red money is distributed to everybody in proportion to their watch time

00:37:48   but

00:37:50   When you get a video over 10 minutes

00:37:52   You can put an ad at the end of it

00:37:54   Not just an ad at the beginning like those pre-roll ads that show up. You can have one at the end

00:37:59   Okay, that's why lots of YouTube channels are aiming for videos that are 10 minutes and one second long is

00:38:06   Because it means they can double up the number of ads that potentially show on that video

00:38:12   How do you feel about that Myke?

00:38:15   I

00:38:18   Understand it but like I don't know it's like in its own little way

00:38:22   Kind of upsetting to me

00:38:25   It annoys me that it's even a thing. The last time this happened to me was I put up a video, the

00:38:30   Q&A video that I did, I don't know maybe like nine months ago now

00:38:35   I did a Q&A with Gray number three and

00:38:37   I remember thinking that one came up to nine minutes long and

00:38:41   I was annoyed simply by the fact that I found myself thinking for a second like "Oh should I do one more question in this Q&A?"

00:38:47   You know to stretch it out to ten minutes. I thought

00:38:51   No, like I hate this system. I don't like that this like this even the fact that this thought is occurring to me like irritates me

00:38:57   I don't even want this to be a consideration

00:38:59   It's like now I've spent a whole bunch of time on this script

00:39:02   I think these questions flow in an appropriate way like no

00:39:05   I'm not gonna go back in and monkey wrench in an additional question so I can make my video 10 minutes and one second long

00:39:10   So there can be a second ad at the end

00:39:12   I don't blame YouTube for this. This isn't something that I think YouTube is doing wrong. They're doing like the best they can

00:39:19   But it's everybody else that's the problem. It's like the people who try and gain it.

00:39:24   Funnily enough, it relates back a little bit to what we were just talking about a minute ago.

00:39:28   The people being within the system, making it worse for everyone

00:39:33   because they have their own things that they want to try and gain out of it.

00:39:36   Like there's someone somewhere who is in charge of how much Adsense revenue does YouTube generate a quarter.

00:39:42   And they want to make that number go up.

00:39:45   And it is totally reasonable that if you say, say you upload a video that's an hour long to YouTube.

00:39:52   Well, it's reasonable to have an ad at the beginning, an ad at the end, and to have an ad in the middle.

00:39:58   Because it's a totally reasonable thing if someone is on your site for an hour watching some content.

00:40:03   Once you concede that point, there has to be some cutoff below which you say you're not allowed to have more than one ad on this video.

00:40:14   And whatever that number is, you're going to always have people ending up like near that number

00:40:20   and then feeling like maybe we make it just a little bit longer.

00:40:24   Because like the idea of the cut-off is a user-friendly, it is a consumer-friendly thing.

00:40:29   But it ends up being negative for the consumer because then you end up with people pushing to get to that point, right?

00:40:37   Right, and here is a situation where we now talk about power again, right?

00:40:42   Personally, if I was in charge of YouTube AdSense revenue,

00:40:47   and I was also incredibly secure in my position of power and didn't actually have to increase those numbers,

00:40:53   I would probably raise that limit from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

00:40:58   I think 20 minutes you're going to just cut out a lot of videos that people could possibly stretch.

00:41:04   I think 10 minutes is just too close to the point

00:41:08   where a bunch of people can stretch it just a little longer to make it 10-01

00:41:13   and 20 minutes is outside of that

00:41:16   but back in reality land

00:41:18   Whoever's job it is to be in charge of Adsense revenue has to go to their boss and be like I would like to decrease

00:41:24   quarterly revenue by potentially millions of dollars like who knows how much

00:41:28   And what's your reason for this? I think it's a slightly better user experience. It's like no get out of here, right?

00:41:35   This is not possible. Yeah, like are you crazy?

00:41:37   Like can you show me on paper how much better the user experience it is? Like do people even really care?

00:41:42   And like it's never gonna happen. All right, I have a question for you. We're gonna play this game

00:41:48   Okay, the CGP Grey Channel. Mm-hmm is a video is a chat

00:41:53   it's like one of these channels where it has like four people that make videos for it, right and you run it and

00:41:58   The videos are coming in at nine minutes and 30 seconds they keep they keep kind of floating around that number

00:42:05   Mm-hmm, nine minutes eight minutes 25 nine minutes 45

00:42:09   Do you as boss of CGP Grey Channel instruct your video creators to push it to ten?

00:42:15   Okay, so now this is a thing where it told it like the details totally matter and one of the questions is

00:42:24   Like how well is the business doing?

00:42:27   There are many scenarios which I might not even have a choice about whether to do that or not. The business is doing

00:42:33   Perfectly fine. Okay. So now that now this is this is exactly how I try to arrange my life

00:42:38   The business is doing perfectly fine

00:42:40   And if it's a range the way grey industries is arranged

00:42:43   Which is I'm the dude in charge and I have no one to answer to I would just leave it like an art

00:42:49   It would be fine, you know, you could make 25% more revenue

00:42:53   If you ask your creators to just do 25 seconds more work for each video

00:42:58   I would still say no under the assumption that the business is doing fine

00:43:02   And I can feel confident saying that because I know already that I make a bunch of decisions that are like that

00:43:08   Which is getting back to your very first question about talking about the length of this video

00:43:12   Like is the length of this video longer to make more money?

00:43:15   in some ways

00:43:17   Actually, not some ways in almost every way that a spreadsheet can measure this video is a terrible idea

00:43:25   it's just like a

00:43:28   terrible, terrible idea in terms of

00:43:30   return on investment in terms of how long did it take to make. What I also now find is increasingly a thing

00:43:38   I have to be aware of is how much does it cost to make when it's not just me working on it anymore. And also

00:43:44   when facing the reality of

00:43:47   this video could quite easily be

00:43:50   two 10-minute videos or three 5-minute videos. Like there are chapter breaks in this video

00:43:57   around the dictatorship, democracies, and

00:44:00   taxes and revolts. There's no reason I couldn't have made this a three-part series.

00:44:04   Especially when you have two more videos planned.

00:44:07   Yeah, when I have more videos planned anyway, like it's go-- like there's going to be more stuff coming down the road

00:44:12   so it's not like it would be-- feel like an artificial split.

00:44:14   You know, it's a weird thing to look at this and to know for a fact that the way my business runs,

00:44:23   I could essentially have tripled the profitability of this video for not very much work, and I chose not to.

00:44:30   So this is one of the great things about working for yourself is that you can make decisions based on taste?

00:44:36   That is it is so it is so true.

00:44:40   I've actually I've had it I've had a number of decisions like this that happened to come up in the past couple weeks

00:44:44   where there's a question about

00:44:47   Should I do a thing?

00:44:49   The thing is obviously a good business decision

00:44:52   but I don't feel good about doing the thing.

00:44:56   And it's like, guess what?

00:44:57   I am the CEO and the board of directors of my own company,

00:45:01   so I don't have to do this.

00:45:03   - It is a freeing feeling to know that you can do,

00:45:06   like, you know, one of the very basic things for us

00:45:08   is the sponsors that we turn down.

00:45:12   - Yeah, yeah.

00:45:13   - Companies that I know will give me maybe more money

00:45:15   than some of the companies that we work with

00:45:17   just because they really wanna get their word out,

00:45:20   but we just say, it's not gonna work.

00:45:22   Even things like when we have perfectly valid companies,

00:45:26   but we have another company that we're working with

00:45:29   that sells the same product.

00:45:31   It's not about that there's a contractual thing in place.

00:45:34   We just try not to mix the message

00:45:36   'cause it doesn't make sense for us

00:45:37   because we think it's confusing to our listeners.

00:45:40   - Exactly, exactly.

00:45:42   And that's the kind of thing that

00:45:43   when you're working for yourself,

00:45:44   you can make those decisions.

00:45:46   It is on the list of things that are beneficial

00:45:48   about working for yourself,

00:45:50   being able to turn down stuff that you don't feel good about is very high on that list.

00:45:55   Even if it doesn't make business sense, you know, perhaps especially when it doesn't make business sense.

00:46:02   This video is one of those cases just so

00:46:09   crystal clear.

00:46:12   People are looking at this video from the perspective of it seems like it's three sections.

00:46:18   It could have been broken up into three sections

00:46:20   Why didn't you do that? But but from my perspective

00:46:24   What I'm looking at is I had a thing that was

00:46:29   15,000 words that would have been an hour and 20 minutes long if recorded and what I tried to pull out of it

00:46:37   was

00:46:39   which

00:46:40   three sections go together as a

00:46:45   cohesive group and which three sections make sense as a as a place to start when talking about this stuff.

00:46:53   And

00:46:55   there's like that's why this video is 20 minutes. Like it's it's not 20 minutes

00:47:00   because I was aiming for a watch time point.

00:47:03   It's certainly not 20 minutes because I would make more money on that like the spreadsheets

00:47:09   definitely tell me it's a terrible financial decision.

00:47:13   But it's 20 minutes because it feels like this is a cohesive group on a topic that is important to me,

00:47:25   that I think unifies a lot of the other things that I have talked about.

00:47:31   And so I want these to go together.

00:47:35   And they have ended up being 20 minutes.

00:47:38   But that it is a process of cutting to 20.

00:47:43   It is not remotely a process of building to 20.

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00:50:05   I have a theory about this video that I will share shortly but I have a question to ask

00:50:12   you first. Okay. The question is how long did this script take? Like from when it was

00:50:20   Not from one it was the video that it was previously, like from when you decided I'm making this video about this topic

00:50:27   and then you started writing the script.

00:50:29   Yeah, so that's pretty clear. I can pinpoint for you exactly when this script started to dominate and ruin my life, which was

00:50:37   essentially right when I came back from summer

00:50:41   vacation. So that would have been

00:50:45   the very end of August or the beginning of September.

00:50:48   That is when it started to turn into like,

00:50:50   "This is the only thing I am working on constantly."

00:50:53   So we're looking at about two to three months on this?

00:50:56   Yeah, roughly I guess.

00:50:59   God, yes, it's the end of October. Yeah, I guess that's about right.

00:51:03   Probably closer to two,

00:51:05   because I now have this interesting phase where the animator is working on things as well.

00:51:09   But yeah, closer to two months than three.

00:51:11   All right, so let's say it's two months of work.

00:51:14   What is the average time that a script takes to complete?

00:51:19   Okay, well this is the thing I have a hard time answering because

00:51:23   In general I say like it takes a script

00:51:28   Six weeks to go from start to finish

00:51:32   But that is almost always implicitly that I'm like I'm working on other things in the middle

00:51:38   Like I often will work on it for say like two or three weeks

00:51:40   And then I intentionally put it aside for a little bit and then I come back and write and work on it again

00:51:45   you know working on multiple things and so I

00:51:49   Have a very hard time coming up with a number for this script because it was just a thing that

00:51:57   My family is aware

00:52:00   was just

00:52:02   constantly on my mind mm-hmm and so I

00:52:06   Couldn't even possibly begin to put a number on

00:52:10   how much time I have spent on this, how much time I have written and discarded and written again

00:52:16   enormously long drafts trying to figure out a way to approach this topic. So I have no number for you, Myke.

00:52:23   So this one, but like, what kind of my key that I'm trying to derive from this, which you've done perfectly for me,

00:52:28   is that this one was

00:52:30   abnormally hard and tricky and difficult to complete in a way that the scripts usually aren't. Like, this one was way harder.

00:52:37   Yeah, I'm usually frustrated by every script I work on but like this one was difficult to the point where it was impacting my health

00:52:45   Difficult like just anecdotally I think maybe since since I think the video before America pox

00:52:53   Just in our conversations. I've known something about every video that you've put out since then I

00:53:00   Knew nothing about this one of it in the fact that it was killing you. Mm-hmm

00:53:05   And that was an interesting data point for me to highlight how much you hated this video is that

00:53:10   you didn't really want to talk about it and that was very interesting to me to see that.

00:53:16   So from the history of this show and the things that you said in the past I think listeners would

00:53:20   be well aware of the fact and especially the settlers of Catan video is the meme here that you

00:53:25   will put a script to bed if it is killing you. You didn't do that with this one and my theory is

00:53:34   that it's because of the animator. You're totally wrong there. Sorry Myke.

00:53:41   Can you see where I was driving at? That like it had changed your

00:53:45   business in a certain way because you had decided to have assets done it

00:53:49   wasn't just you working on it anymore and it was too late. No, sorry. That was my theory.

00:53:53   You're totally wrong. Couldn't be more wrong. There's an interesting conversation to be had

00:53:59   about how having an animator has changed my business quite a lot but that is

00:54:04   totally wrong. I knew there was I had as much chance of being right as being

00:54:10   wrong on this one. I can see why you were thinking that and I did because I knew

00:54:15   this was gonna be such a nightmare and I knew it was gonna be really long I was

00:54:18   having the animator just work on generic stuff way ahead of time like okay look

00:54:23   we're gonna need some dictators we're gonna need some kings we're gonna need

00:54:26   some Thrones and some tanks like I don't exactly know where any of its going to

00:54:29   go but like just start drawing you know we can use all of these pieces later

00:54:34   But had this script not come together at some point

00:54:38   I would have just abandoned that or we would have just put it on ice

00:54:41   I mean, you know, we'll come back to this at some point, you know

00:54:44   A drawing of a guy with a crown on it isn't gonna go to waste on a CGP Grey channel

00:54:49   Like it's gonna come up at some point. So I don't feel that way.

00:54:52   Then I don't know why you kept this one going.

00:54:55   I said it before I found this topic

00:54:58   personally important and

00:55:02   unifying of a bunch of the other things that I have discussed. This video is at the base of why a lot of the other things

00:55:08   I have complained about in my videos are the way they are, right?

00:55:12   and I I

00:55:15   I don't know. I think people

00:55:19   often in arguments get way too focused on

00:55:24   the details. Like they get bogged down in the details of individuals and lose

00:55:31   sight of the structure and so this to me feels like I'm I

00:55:35   have two ideas that I'm trying to convey here, but like one of them that I think is so important is

00:55:41   like listen people

00:55:44   your

00:55:45   intense

00:55:47   focus on the ruler is

00:55:49   misplaced that it's an it's like it's not that it's not important, but it's an

00:55:56   incredible amount of energy being devoted to the wrong thing when you're talking about problems.

00:56:03   Like, all the action is one level down, and I think that's an important idea to convey and

00:56:12   I have seen in personal conversations that when I had been able to turn someone's mind on this topic,

00:56:22   Just as like I was saying before I found it personally freeing in some ways with with regards to working within an organization

00:56:29   I have found that has the same effect on other people like if I can if I can turn your mind

00:56:34   from thinking about these problems as related to

00:56:37   individuals

00:56:39   instead as

00:56:41   problems that fall out of the structure I

00:56:44   Think that understanding is is beneficial. I think it makes the world less confusing and much more understandable

00:56:51   It makes perfect sense. Like I can see it just like it. Okay. It doesn't make perfect

00:56:57   sense actually. I understand why you wanted to make it. I just can't understand why you

00:57:02   stuck with it because it goes against so many of your kind of underlying principles of the

00:57:08   way that you conduct yourself in business. It was okay. Well, what principles do you

00:57:14   think it contradicts? Right. It just it completely shattered the spreadsheets. Yeah, which is

00:57:19   and it consumed your entire life. You couldn't work on anything else and it made you sad.

00:57:29   You know, because you always say, right, like and it's something that I admire that you work the

00:57:37   amount that you want to work and you don't work any more than that, right? Like it's like a kind

00:57:42   of a road to defining thing about the way that Grey Industries is run is that it is not that you

00:57:47   You don't want to work every minute of the day.

00:57:50   You work the things, you know, you work the amount that you need to work. This was way more than that.

00:57:56   Yeah, but you know, I mean there's two points here. One of which is I think people often get

00:58:05   distracted by the fact that I like metrics, I like spreadsheets, but I always use them as

00:58:12   guidelines, they're not laws. Like I am I am not beholden to the spreadsheet. So the fact that a video

00:58:19   breaks the spreadsheet I feel like well

00:58:21   this is this is I have set up my whole business so that I can do this exact thing

00:58:27   so that it is like this is not a problem that

00:58:30   video doesn't make sense in terms of like ROI on my hours, right? And then the second thing is this

00:58:41   I couldn't have let go if I even wanted to.

00:58:43   Right? It was just... this is one of those moments where like my brain would never have let this go.

00:58:49   So I'm like, well, I guess I guess I'm just gonna plow through this.

00:58:53   Like I guess I'm just gonna have weeks where I keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the thing and

00:58:59   writing down notes and trying to figure out how it goes.

00:59:01   Like I feel like I in some sense had no choice but to plow through and finish this video.

00:59:08   I just don't think I could have let it go anyway, so even though it destroyed my theory

00:59:12   I'm kind of happy to hear this because like

00:59:15   not that I didn't think this about you, but it's nice to know that like

00:59:20   The creation the desire to create the thing is still there

00:59:27   You know, even though you've been successful what you do for so long

00:59:30   Mm-hmm that like the the like the overwhelming desire to make the thing still exists, even though

00:59:37   So you have the ability to just make good stuff, right?

00:59:41   That doesn't do this to you.

00:59:43   You could have just said, this is too hard,

00:59:46   I'm gonna work on one of the other ideas I have.

00:59:48   Because the business needs to keep running,

00:59:50   like I can't do this, like this is too much.

00:59:53   You could have very easily done that, but you didn't.

00:59:55   You decided like I have this thing that I really care about

00:59:59   that currently is a money pit,

01:00:01   but I really wanna make it, so I'm gonna make it.

01:00:04   And then like that, I don't know,

01:00:05   there's something that then couples up

01:00:07   because considering how much money or opportunity this video cost you, it would have made more

01:00:13   sense to split it into two videos. But you didn't do that. Like, I don't know, there's

01:00:17   just something about that that is nice to just see.

01:00:23   I feel like I need to say something really robotic now to pull you back, Myke.

01:00:26   Bleep bloop, doesn't compute. Yeah, you're getting like flowers in your

01:00:31   eyes at this moment. There's nothing you can do now that it's

01:00:34   out there the idea is out there it's run away from you look at me I'm a tortured

01:00:37   artist who you were though man I know I really was this time it was awful I saw your head in your

01:00:45   hands a few times yeah it was it was terrible it was really terrible I was

01:00:50   looking at the numbers of this video and as of the time of recording you've broke

01:00:55   two million views on this video which is awesome

01:00:58   congratulations thank you I started looking at the other numbers in your

01:01:02   channel and they're so large right they're all in the millions and I started

01:01:06   thinking about viral videos like viral videos are usually seven figure view

01:01:14   videos right sometimes more than yours sometimes just the level of yours and I

01:01:20   wondered like if virality even plays into CGP Grey videos anymore like are

01:01:28   Are they not just all viral videos?

01:01:30   And like if all videos are viral or any really viral?

01:01:34   (laughing)

01:01:36   - Right, when everyone's super and no one is.

01:01:37   - Yeah.

01:01:38   - That is, that is totally an interesting question.

01:01:46   And...

01:01:47   - Like, are you just in the viral video business?

01:01:52   - Yeah, but see, I have started to think about it

01:01:55   in a different way.

01:01:56   Like I used to very much think about my videos as viral videos.

01:02:00   But I think at some point

01:02:03   they're just things that I make.

01:02:06   Something about viralness is a question of outlierness.

01:02:14   You think of viral as

01:02:16   a person has a regular YouTube channel and then they make a video

01:02:21   and it goes really crazy and it's an order of magnitude larger than anything else.

01:02:26   Or, actually we have a perfect example of someone who has regularly high view numbers who recently had a

01:02:33   viral video, which is Casey Neistat.

01:02:37   He generally gets whatever it is now, two, three million views, you know, in a video.

01:02:43   And then he did that video about, what was it, Dubai Airlines? I still haven't gone around to watching it.

01:02:48   $21,000 first-class airline seat, which you need to watch. It's fantastic. And currently it's at 24 million views.

01:02:55   I think of the word viral is going to mean something. It has to be something about outlier status.

01:03:04   My gosh, that's his most viewed video.

01:03:08   Right, but I'm not surprised that it is.

01:03:11   And it's a month old.

01:03:13   Yeah, but that's viralness, right?

01:03:16   But my point is he had a bunch of really popular videos, you know?

01:03:21   Yeah, but I think Casey Neistat's career is sort of similar in that he started out making viral videos

01:03:29   And now he just makes vlogs that routinely get millions of views every day of the week

01:03:34   Virality is relative.

01:03:37   I think there's a way to think about that. Yeah, and

01:03:39   I

01:03:42   Have a hard time thinking about

01:03:45   The metrics for my own videos like what is a successful video? What is not a successful video?

01:03:51   And part of it is this idea that like I don't make

01:03:55   viral videos. Like my videos have

01:03:59   relatively similar numbers. The ones that have numbers that are much larger are generally much older, right? Which you should expect.

01:04:07   And so like I don't even though I'm getting pretty big numbers that if they happen to a random YouTube channel

01:04:16   you would definitely say like that is a viral video.

01:04:18   But I'm not I'm not sure that they can be described as

01:04:22   Viral videos like I don't think that's really what I do

01:04:25   I think it depends on like your definition of such like a few numbers of what you're looking for

01:04:30   Then you don't make viral videos anymore because all of your videos are very large number view number

01:04:37   But it's like what if it's how they get around right like that. They're everywhere

01:04:42   They're posted on websites and stuff and that still happens to you

01:04:46   Like the videos stretch outside of your subscription base by a huge margin. Is that virality?

01:04:52   You know, so like that it depends on your definition of it, which there isn't one

01:04:57   Yeah, anyhow, like that was just it was just the thing that I wondered because at a certain point like

01:05:03   They're not thought of as being viral by you anymore because they're just this is just what you do like two million

01:05:10   View videos. All right, but it's but it's more important that they are there within an order of magnitude of each other all of them

01:05:17   Right. Yeah, like it there aren't really any outliers and I think in my mind that's

01:05:22   that's

01:05:24   What it is because the video that the videos that have been the outliers in the past are not anymore because time

01:05:33   Has made that not so much like the difference between the UK like the UK video explained

01:05:39   and humans need not apply, those videos which were the standouts over time have become less exceptional

01:05:45   because other videos are catching up to them.

01:05:47   Yeah, but if I look back on--because I've just put together a spreadsheet which has all of this data--

01:05:53   if I look back on the 2011 time in my career, which is when I was just getting started,

01:06:01   the variance in the videos is very high.

01:06:05   Yes, right like so

01:06:07   Like my first video I have all of the data

01:06:10   Adjusted for the first 28 days. So how did it do in the first month?

01:06:14   All right, and so like the the my very first video the UK difference one

01:06:18   Totally a viral video, right? It did

01:06:21   720,000 views in the first month

01:06:25   my next video first past the post did 32,000 views right in the first month and

01:06:31   There's a lot of numbers like that where it's you know, it's many hundreds of thousands

01:06:36   30,000 right half a million

01:06:38   50,000 a hundred thousand and then six hundred thousand like that is way more like I was in the viral

01:06:46   Business then because the variance was just much higher

01:06:50   Looking at the channel now

01:06:52   It's so funny to me that time management for teachers and the daisy chain computer cable thing is still over is still there

01:06:58   Look, this is this is part of YouTube tradition, right? You're not supposed to remove your old videos that are unrelated

01:07:04   Like you might, here's the thing

01:07:06   This is this is the problem with you with this new generation of youtubers like you

01:07:09   Right is you have an idea of what this is supposed to be right from the start and you know what you're doing

01:07:14   Whereas us old-timers didn't have any idea what we were doing and like stumble upon a thing

01:07:21   But if that's the way you were you have to leave up those old videos, right? It's just that's just the way it happens

01:07:27   Like if MKBHD ever takes down that video of 12 year old him reviewing a VCR, I will be very sad

01:07:32   Maybe I won't be a vlogger in a year, right?

01:07:34   And all of this that I'm doing now is just this weird history. Yeah, we will see

01:07:39   But one of the funny effects of these large numbers

01:07:45   So you recommend the Dictators Handbook, right? Yeah at the end of the video

01:07:52   and

01:07:54   This is the book that you learn from and you mentioned people to go and check it out because you think it is very good

01:07:58   And you did a really great job of selling this book. Like I became interested in the book as well

01:08:03   I don't know what it was that you did

01:08:04   But I was like, yeah, I want to read this book, which is a very rare thing for me

01:08:07   and then somebody contacted you I think or you checked and saw that the book had gone from like

01:08:13   Position fifty three thousand to twenty four on Amazon and is now out of stock in hardcover

01:08:20   yeah, so

01:08:22   When I did the video, when I did the Ameriapox video on

01:08:25   Guns and Drums of Steel essentially.

01:08:28   Everyone's favorite book, Guns and Drums of Steel.

01:08:30   Totally uncontroversial in any way.

01:08:32   Which, anyway, we'll leave that aside.

01:08:35   Which I think is a great book, people should read it. Like read what it actually says, not what people say it says, but that's a whole other story.

01:08:43   For another day.

01:08:46   Or never. But

01:08:48   after I put that up

01:08:51   Someone messaged me or something or other like it it only occurred to me later to think oh

01:08:55   Amazon has public sales rankings of their data

01:09:00   which I didn't quite realize like you can use this as like a stock market for books and

01:09:04   I thought oh

01:09:06   I wish I had known this ahead of time because I was kind of curious to like

01:09:10   Do my videos move book sales if I reference a book in particular like I didn't have any idea

01:09:16   I was kind of curious and so doing

01:09:19   this video was a kind of perfect test case because

01:09:21   Again, because I think this is actually like it's an important topic and I think it is helpful for people to understand this topic

01:09:28   I really did

01:09:30   Want to make a push for like you need to read or listen to this book at the end like it's a very hard

01:09:36   sales push

01:09:38   Because like I want people to read this book

01:09:40   And so because of that I was curious to see like does it make any effect on the actual sales?

01:09:46   And so I took a screenshot ahead of time of where the book was and it was something like in the you know

01:09:52   The 50,000s of bestsellers, right? So if you rank all of the books on Amazon by

01:09:57   how well they're selling it was like the

01:09:59   50,000th

01:10:01   best-selling book and and yes

01:10:03   The the high-water mark as far as I was able to catch was a jump from 50,000 to

01:10:08   19 on all of Amazon it made its way

01:10:14   to the page that lists the top 20 best-selling books on Amazon and then a little while people started tweeting me that

01:10:21   The delay for the book was up to two to five weeks. So I was like, I wonder if we sold out

01:10:28   Amazon like is it did this

01:10:30   did this happen and then

01:10:33   Lo and behold I got an email from the publisher of the book

01:10:41   No way! That's awesome!

01:10:43   Who told me that they had sold all of the books.

01:10:47   And that they were doing another printing of the book because there were no more books.

01:10:58   Can you see? Like the thing about this, it's like the what the video was about and then you made a

01:11:05   video and now there's no book like the power in all inherently and all of that

01:11:11   it's so weird to me you were able to just destroy the inventory I mean like

01:11:16   it's a it's a strange experience because I was like I was wondering oh this book

01:11:21   is at 50,000 I wonder if we can move it to 40,000 like is that it can I see can

01:11:26   I even see on Amazon because the interesting thing is I don't tell people

01:11:31   go buy the book on Amazon, right?

01:11:34   You're actually trying to go buy an Audible.

01:11:36   Exactly. It's part of an Audible ad.

01:11:38   I'm saying like go listen. I'm saying go listen to this book, but but nonetheless

01:11:43   even when I don't reference Amazon, I didn't put a link to Amazon in the video.

01:11:48   There's nothing there's nothing about Amazon here and

01:11:52   afterwards I find out that

01:11:56   Every physical copy of the book that exists has been sold and they're printing more

01:12:01   That's incredible. It was it was

01:12:04   It was surprising to say the least. And let this power go to your head man. Well, I'm glad people are reading the book

01:12:11   You know, it's it's like a mission accomplished mission way more accomplished than I ever thought it was going to happen

01:12:18   like I actually feel

01:12:20   good that

01:12:23   If I go all in on like telling my audience like I think you should read this book

01:12:30   that they

01:12:33   Trust me enough to go do that. That's cool. That's like that's that's the part that I feel

01:12:39   Good about you know

01:12:40   Cuz I like I've done I've done other book ads before and I'm like I always try to recommend something that I like

01:12:47   But it's I thought like this one is this one is different

01:12:50   Like I'm trying to communicate to the audience like go read this book and I want to see like does

01:12:55   This book in particular move at all in the sales if I do that

01:13:00   And so it does the way that you presented that was particularly impactful

01:13:04   You could tell that you really meant it like you should read this like because I came away from it being like maybe I should

01:13:11   treat that

01:13:13   That doesn't happen very often I'm not going to but I thought about it for a minute

01:13:18   I'll take that as a victory in Myke's mind.

01:13:20   Even if for a fleeting moment I had Myke think, "maybe I'll read a non-fiction book."

01:13:25   The only books I ever read are for the Cortex book club.

01:13:28   The only books I ever read.

01:13:30   But yeah, I think that's amazing.

01:13:32   It really is kind of incredible.

01:13:34   But you've got to remember though that with great power comes great responsibility.

01:13:37   I understand.

01:13:38   I certainly won't be using my newfound knowledge to plot to take over the world.

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01:16:19   Talking about power.

01:16:20   Yes.

01:16:21   I kinda can't believe this happened. In the Cortex subreddit, somebody posted a photo

01:16:30   of their write-in vote for Grey Hurley as President Vice President.

01:16:37   [laughter]

01:16:43   I wanna make s- before we go any further, I have to say this, okay?

01:16:49   Whilst this is of course amazing and hilarious...

01:16:54   Vote Grey Hurley 2016!

01:16:56   In the presidential election your vote is important.

01:16:59   Don't forget that.

01:17:01   I would just say that like it is important.

01:17:03   I'm sure Grey would agree if in the democracy it's important to vote.

01:17:07   If you're going to vote don't waste your votes.

01:17:09   However I've said that now okay so that is the part I have to say that.

01:17:14   So listeners your vote is very important.

01:17:16   However this is one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me.

01:17:18   (laughing)

01:17:21   - All I'm waiting for is for the Myke disclaimer to end,

01:17:24   so Myke can feel like he has a clear conscience here.

01:17:27   - Yep, my conscience is clear.

01:17:28   - Listen, listeners, that is what has actually occurred here.

01:17:32   Myke has just cleared his moral conscience.

01:17:34   - Yep.

01:17:36   I mean, you've got it.

01:17:37   And I did.

01:17:38   - I am perfectly happy to toy with civilization

01:17:41   and say that this is hilarious.

01:17:43   - This is incredible.

01:17:44   It's absolutely incredible.

01:17:45   And you know what's even better about this?

01:17:48   I tweeted about this and somebody contacted me to say that in this state in Illinois it is a class

01:17:54   four felony to take your picture and share it in a ballot booth. Brave, brave supporter. I know

01:18:00   it just adds to the amazingness of it all and it's just there in black and white for president

01:18:08   and vice president, CGP Grey, Myke Hurley.

01:18:12   It's beautiful.

01:18:14   We got one.

01:18:16   We know we got one.

01:18:18   - We got one.

01:18:19   And of course, this is the thing that happens

01:18:22   in every election, is the really interesting thing

01:18:24   is to see in this county, when they do the final tally,

01:18:29   is there one vote for Grey Hurley 2016?

01:18:33   - Oh yeah, we can check this one.

01:18:35   - Like this happens, this is the thing,

01:18:37   like this happens every single year where someone puts in a write-in

01:18:40   candidate and then in the final totals it is not listed which makes you always

01:18:44   feel like huh that's concerning but like every election ever this is always a

01:18:50   story that happens and so now we might be this story if this county in Illinois

01:18:57   doesn't actually report in the final total that there was a great early vote.

01:19:02   We could be at the center of a national news story Myke. So this is in Jackson

01:19:07   County, Illinois. Alright. Alright, Jackson County vote counters. We've got our eyes on

01:19:14   you. Yeah, we know. Because we know it's there now. That's fantastic. I have to say, I just...

01:19:20   Thing of beauty. I think I screamed when I saw this. I just happened to be in, just like,

01:19:27   just opened Reddit and it had just been posted. I was so excited about it. It was, yeah, it's

01:19:32   kind of it. It's really silly but it's really amazing.

01:19:36   Yeah I mean and to be your vote is important don't forget to say it. Myke needs to say

01:19:40   that to feel better. I think I think I think viewers can can watch my video and

01:19:45   come to their own conclusions. But you know even though I will say like oh if

01:19:50   nominated I will not run if elected I will not serve, still when seeing your

01:19:55   name on a ballot for president for just a moment you're like maybe I should

01:20:00   reach out and grasp power. No, no! Resist it. Resist it. It's a terrible idea. Nobody

01:20:08   wants that job. It's an awful, it's an awful job. I don't want it. But for just a moment...

01:20:13   We could take a term. Just one term. You know? It will suck and it will be horrible.

01:20:20   We could do it together. Just for four years.

01:20:24   Yeah? Right? So in the history books it's like, "Myke Hurley was elected in 2016 for the Lulz."

01:20:32   Yeah. But you know, we just take one term.

01:20:35   Yeah but see that's the whole thing. We will have no political capital,

01:20:40   so we will accomplish nothing. But that's fine.

01:20:42   One term, that's all we're gonna do. What could go wrong? How much bad could

01:20:49   happen in four years? I can't imagine very much. Exactly. It's amazing.

01:20:53   It is amazing.

01:20:54   It is just amazing.

01:20:56   I bought a ticket for VidCon.

01:20:59   Oh yeah?

01:21:00   Yeah.

01:21:01   I didn't know they were on sale yet.

01:21:03   They are on sale now.

01:21:05   I got like a pre-sale ticket.

01:21:07   Oh, because you're part of the Cool Kids Club, right?

01:21:11   Not really.

01:21:12   I am a member of the Internet Creators Guild, which is something that I pay for.

01:21:16   And because it's, that was established by Hank Green,

01:21:20   VidCon is run by Hank Green. There was like a very small discount and early ticket you could buy if you're a part of the ICG

01:21:27   Which I took advantage of because the ticket was nowhere near as expensive as I expected. It was like a hundred and thirty dollars or something

01:21:34   But which but which tier is that Myke because as I learned on my last trip to VidCon

01:21:40   It is very is very much a class system with several tiers that are represented by the physical levels in the building

01:21:48   So which tier are you? I went for creator

01:21:51   Okay, so you you are the top tier then? Well, no, there was industry. Oh god. I can't even remember

01:21:57   Industry was like five hundred dollars the worst VidCon attendee ever. I can't remember which way the tiers go

01:22:04   I mean, I would have gone for the industry to just get the most of everything

01:22:08   But I'm I was reading it and I was I'm genuinely interested in the creator track

01:22:14   Mm-hmm, like the courses and like the workshops and stuff is stuff that I genuinely want to do

01:22:20   Like to understand how to be better at YouTube like I think even in June of next year. I will need that help

01:22:28   So I thought this is what I'll do and plus I just at least my first one

01:22:32   I just want to go and to see it. I just want to see it to see the madness

01:22:36   I just want to I just want to experience what?

01:22:38   Goes on there like for the same reason that you did it right like just to just see it

01:22:43   Exactly. Like I want to see this thing that is thousands and thousands of people.

01:22:49   With the way of American hotels work, I booked a hotel and I don't have to pay for it until I go,

01:22:53   right? So I figured it's... I'm not really losing... At most I'll lose $130,

01:22:58   which is fine. So the business paid for it, like, I'm good. I'm now just hoping that I can go,

01:23:04   right? Because that time of year is also when Apple's WWDC conference occurs.

01:23:11   Right.

01:23:12   My real hope is that it happens like what happened last year where it was like one week is one the next week is the other

01:23:17   Because then that's perfect. I'll be in San Francisco and then go to LA

01:23:20   Yeah last year that worked out

01:23:23   Fantastically because you know, I mean that's that's the whole reason why I had this crazy summer was

01:23:29   This is a bit of a question. Like would I go out to California?

01:23:33   Just for VidCon like maybe not. I really don't like traveling. I have a really hard time with jet lag

01:23:41   Would I go out just for WWDC? It's like oh god, I have no reason in the world to be a WWDC really

01:23:49   It's like but if you take those two and put them back to back

01:23:53   Suddenly it makes a difference. It's like oh now now this might make sense to do

01:23:57   And so yeah, that's why that's why that happened for me

01:24:01   But I mean Apple never announces their dates until the last possible minute

01:24:05   So who knows how the dates are going to align this upcoming summer

01:24:08   However, there has been a change to VidCon this year which works in my favor in that it's now longer.

01:24:14   Oh is it?

01:24:16   Yeah, it's four days.

01:24:18   Really?

01:24:19   It runs from the 21st to the 24th.

01:24:22   Does that include the Disney Day where everybody goes to Disneyland?

01:24:26   No, that's the 25th.

01:24:27   Okay, so it's actually five days now. Wow.

01:24:29   Yeah, so even if it's the same week, I could still get two days of VidCon in at the end.

01:24:35   I could go on Friday and Saturday.

01:24:37   Okay, so you'll commute down to LA from San Francisco if you're in WWDC and then go to VidCon for the end of it?

01:24:42   Yeah, and I go for the last two days.

01:24:44   That's not an unreasonable thing to do.

01:24:45   Because I'm still just, I'm only going to see, right? Like ideally I want to do the whole thing.

01:24:49   But, and I want to do all of the courses, I want to do the whole track.

01:24:53   But my primary reason is I want to see and experience VidCon.

01:24:58   So I'll still get those two days and I will go to Disney on the 25th because I've always wanted to.

01:25:05   This is like, I will be in the area.

01:25:07   It's a great idea to go.

01:25:08   But yeah, so I'm, it's very, basically right now,

01:25:13   the only reason I would not go to VidCon

01:25:15   is if like WWDC is the first or second week of June,

01:25:20   because then it's like,

01:25:22   I'm not gonna be in California for three weeks.

01:25:24   - Right, this is too big of a gap between them.

01:25:26   - It's too big.

01:25:27   If it's two weeks total, I'll do it.

01:25:28   But past that, I wouldn't do it.

01:25:30   So yeah, I just wanna go.

01:25:32   Plus I know that this year of 2017,

01:25:35   there is VidCon Europe for the first time, I think it's in Amsterdam.

01:25:39   And I mean I'll see what the information for that is, I might like to go, but I want to

01:25:43   go to VidCon Prime, like I want to go to the US one.

01:25:47   That's a good name for it, yeah.

01:25:48   I know that they announced this year that they're doing VidCon's, where's the other

01:25:52   one?

01:25:53   Europe, Australia?

01:25:54   Yeah, I'm trying to think what city it is in Australia, I'm not sure.

01:25:57   But yeah, VidCon Prime might be a good name for the one in LA, because I think that's,

01:26:02   There's no way that's not always going to be the biggest.

01:26:06   It is in the heart of LA with the whole of the entertainment industry around it.

01:26:16   And YouTube is now solidly in the middle of the entertainment industry, so you just have

01:26:22   the largest number of people who could go there and would be motivated to go there are

01:26:29   within a 30 minute drive of where it's gonna be, you know, so it's always gonna be huge.

01:26:33   At least for this year, everyone that would go from Europe and from Australia is still gonna go

01:26:38   to LA anyway. Yeah, maybe. Like, if you go, if you're a European creator and you go to VidCon

01:26:46   every year, you're not gonna be like, "I don't need to go this year, I'll just wait for it to

01:26:49   be in Amsterdam." Like, you're still gonna go because that's what you do, right? And because

01:26:56   you don't know what Europe's gonna be like. So I feel like this year is still worth me going and

01:27:01   I'm just interested in seeing it, I'm interested in learning about it, I just want to experience

01:27:07   it. Even from you telling me about it last year before I had any desire to be a YouTuber I wanted

01:27:13   to go. Because the explanations and the conversations that we had about it was like this

01:27:19   thing just sounds incredible in all the right and wrong ways. I just want to experience this

01:27:25   bananas thing, you know?

01:27:28   It is very big.

01:27:31   There are lots of people.

01:27:33   It is very overwhelming.

01:27:35   [laughs]

01:27:35   Are you at all likely to go again?

01:27:38   I don't know. I mean, this to me is hard to answer.

01:27:43   In no small part because I'm feeling like

01:27:44   VidCon tickets are already on sale.

01:27:46   Like, I was just at VidCon. I was just there, right?

01:27:49   Like, this is my feeling about it.

01:27:52   [laughter]

01:27:54   But, you know, for me with this kind of stuff, like, I don't go to a lot of conferences.

01:28:01   I don't like traveling very much.

01:28:03   And I think this always-- this is going to boil down to me with an entire dependency on

01:28:10   what is everything else that is occurring this summer that relates to my life.

01:28:15   And so, if there is a way that VidCon works, I might go to VidCon.

01:28:20   But I think it's very likely that depending on what my travel plans are this summer, like I would not go to VidCon

01:28:26   But I don't know like if it works I might go if it doesn't work obviously I won't go but it's

01:28:32   like my

01:28:34   Business is not necessarily VidCon

01:28:37   focused like I'm not really in that Hollywood industry and

01:28:42   I wouldn't go for fan reasons either so

01:28:46   It's just like it's a big

01:28:50   notification for me to fly all of the way to California when I find it such an unpleasant thing to do.

01:28:55   I'm not ruling it out,

01:28:57   but I'm just saying like it's not something that I would build my calendar around whereas I know there are lots of people who like

01:29:03   VidCon is the event in the year and it makes total sense that they would like plan their entire summers around that.

01:29:12   But that that is not the way my business works. So I'm much more wishy-washy about it

01:29:18   than otherwise I'll figure it out, you know closer to the closer to the summer if VidCon was in July

01:29:24   I wouldn't be even thinking about this. Yeah, it's just because it's in the same month

01:29:31   Probably even the same two weeks that I'm already in California, right? Yeah, like it

01:29:37   To me it kind of feels like a little bit of a no-brainer really

01:29:41   As a business decision to do this like if I get one thing worthwhile out of this experience

01:29:48   That's worth it

01:29:50   Yeah, I think it makes so I think it makes total sense for you

01:29:52   like you are it seems to me like you're really enjoying doing the YouTube channel like I I

01:29:58   Would have a hard time imagining a scenario where you are not still vlogging by the summer

01:30:04   Yeah, like I think that's as guaranteed as a thing can possibly be or at least making YouTube videos

01:30:10   Yeah, or the yeah making YouTube videos of something yeah, yeah, that's right

01:30:13   Those videos will be your embarrassing first ones when you have an entirely when you just switch to pure tech reviews, right?

01:30:19   That's like oh my he's do this vlogging thing. Could I became tech reviews? Yeah, you never know. I like that. So maybe right

01:30:26   yeah, it could totally be but

01:30:28   but so that's why it seems to me like

01:30:31   VidCon for you in the situation that you're in right now is is essentially a no-brainer like it's it's

01:30:38   obvious that you should do it. And I'm glad to hear that you got a ticket. And I think the

01:30:41   the Creator Track ticket is probably the best return on investment you're gonna get as far as tickets go.

01:30:48   Like the industry ticket, I think the answer to that one is

01:30:52   if you're, if you, if you have any doubt about the industry ticket, the industry ticket is not for you, right?

01:30:59   They could see you just know what, the industry ticket is for people in the industry whose businesses are paying them to go do a thing.

01:31:06   Like if that's not you the creator ticket is is

01:31:09   Probably what you want if you're making YouTube videos like you are and you want to learn more about it

01:31:15   You know you want to maybe make some contacts, and then I forget what the other one is but like the sort of the fan level

01:31:21   Community. Oh God yeah. Your favorite word. How could I forget? Yes the community ticket is the

01:31:29   You do not have a YouTube channel. You probably don't have any interest in starting a YouTube channel

01:31:35   But you want to go and see creators that you like you you also want to experience the madness and the craziness

01:31:42   That is VidCon

01:31:44   Tell you why I know that I shouldn't buy the community ticket. Why? One of the things that the community ticket

01:31:51   Promotes that it gets you access to is the VidCon prom

01:31:56   There's a prom? It's a VidCon prom. Yeah, huh? That's why I know I shouldn't get the community ticket

01:32:04   I think I'm too old for prom.

01:32:06   You're not going to take me to the prom?

01:32:08   I mean, if you wanna.

01:32:10   I don't wanna.